17 little known facts about 2001: A Space Odyssey

1. According to Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick wanted to get an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London to protect himself against losses in the event that extraterrestrial intelligence were discovered before the movie was released. Lloyd’s refused.

2.The total footage shot was some 200 times the final length of the film.

3. Stanley Kubrick had several tons of sand imported, washed, and painted for the moon surface scenes.

4. The carry-on bags belonging to Russian space scientists with whom Dr. Floyd shares a drink are marked Aeroflot (in Cyrillic), still today the Russian national airline.

5. A working title was “Voyage Beyond the Stars”. When Fantastic Voyage was released, Stanley Kubrick reportedly so disliked that film that he did not want his film to sound anything like it. In the end, “2001” was chosen as it is the first year of both the 21st century and the 3rd millennium.

6. There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes of the movie (ending when a stewardess speaks at 25:38), nor in the last 23 minutes (excluding end credits). With these two lengthy sections and other shorter ones, there are around 88 dialogue-free minutes in the movie.

7. Rock band Pink Floyd was at one point approached to perform music for the film. However they turned it down due to other commitments.

8. The main Discovery set was built by aircraft manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong inside a 12-meter by two-meter drum designed to rotate at five km per hour. It cost $750,000.

9. Frank Poole and Dave Bowman watch themselves in a television interview on “BBC 12”. This was a play on the fact that, at the time of production, there were only BBC channels 1 and 2. The presenter in this scene is Kenneth Kendall, the first newsreader seen on British TV in 1955.

10. Originally, Stanley Kubrick had Stuart Freeborn create a primitive but more human-like makeup for the actors playing early man, but he couldn’t find a way to photograph them in full length without getting an X-rating from the MPAA, since they had to be naked. So Kubrick went with the hairy monkey model instead. With the exception of two baby chimpanzees, all were played by humans in costume.

11. The entire film contains only 205 special effects shots, compared to 350 in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and over 2,200 such shots in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

12. The last movie made about men on the moon before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked there in real life. 40 years later, conspiracy theorists insist that this is not a coincidence, claiming that all footage of Armstrong’s voyage was a hoax film directed by Stanley Kubrick using leftover scenes and props from this movie.

13. HAL 9000 never once says, “Good Morning, Dave,” despite this line being one of his most recognized quotations.

14. Aside from the film’s music, no sound is heard in the space sequences. This is because technically in space, there is no sound.

15. Originally, HAL was to be called Athena and have a female voice.

16. In the premier screening of the film, 241 people walked out of the theater, including Rock Hudson who said “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?” Arthur C. Clarke once said, “If you understand ‘2001’ completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered.”

17. The movie was not a financial success during the first weeks of its theatrical run. MGM was already planning to pull it back from theaters, when they were persuaded by several theatre owners to keep showing the film. Many theater owners had observed increasing numbers of young adults attending the film, who were especially enthusiastic about watching the ‘Star Gate’ sequence under the influence of psychotropic drugs. This helped the film to become a financial success in the end, despite the many negative reactions it received in the beginning.

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5 replies
  1. Andy
    Andy says:

    What I find very telling is that critics denounced the film; completely and utterly wrote it off. However, after the cult following made it a huge hit, they all changed their tune.
    Hence why critics should always be ignored.

  2. Fredo
    Fredo says:

    Brilliance/genius is so often accompanied by eccentricity.
    Which is why Kubrick is (and was) so often misunderstood and vilified.

  3. dierobot
    dierobot says:

    as crazy as this may sound, there are many things about 2001 and 2010 that may actually be based on truth. i am currently gathering more information to further prove this. many people agree Hollywood has been used to plant small amounts of truth (mixed with fantasy) behind extraterrestrial life in movies.

  4. Mudo
    Mudo says:

    >7. Rock band Pink Floyd was at one point approached to perform music for the film. However they turned it down due to other commitments.

    This is 100% not true. Stanley Kubrick sourced the music in 1967, while Pink Floyd were relatively unknown. He did approach them later for his movie “A Clockwork Orange.” He wanted to use their piece “Atom Heart Mother.” Upon hearing that he would chop it up and distribute it throughout the movie, the band elected to not allow the use of the music. Roger Waters has said that this was a huge mistake. Source: “http://www.amazon.com/Comfortably-Numb-Inside-Story-Floyd/dp/0306817527” Comfortably Numb: the Inside Story of Pink Floyd


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